LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
Talk about "foie gras with a view!" Celebrity chef Alain Ducasse-- renowned for his fine dining restaurants at the Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris and the Dorchester in London-- recently opened a new restaurant on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. After a four-month refurbishment, the Jules Verne restaurant showcases nifty glass windows that allow diners to gape at the view even when it's nighttime and the lights are on in the room. With 16 Michelin stars under his belt (and 20 eateries around the world), Ducasse is the very symbol of haute cuisine. His goal with the new Jules Verne? Create a "shop window for French cuisine." Lunch goes for $108 and dinner costs $223.
This summer, the Czech capital will welcome a stunning new hotel from the Rocco Forte Collection, housed in a complex of five historical buildings including St Thomas's Monastery which dates from the 1400s. Smack dab in the heart of Prague, just a stone's throw from the glorious Prague Castle, the 101-room property will be designed by Olga Polizzi, Rocco Forte's sister, who has added impressive design touches to the other Collection hotels. Expect contemporary amenities in a picturesque setting of courtyards and tranquil garden squares. In fact, the practicing Benedictine monks will continue to meditate in certain areas on site! Of course key historic features-- cloistered terraces, beamed ceilings, stone arches, and wine vaults-- will be celebrated in the hotel design. The Augustine's Tower Suites will boast incredible panoramic views across the Prague rooftops.
January 14, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Live the legend at the glamorous Parisian landmark, Hotel Meurice. It's not just the prestigious location on the rue de Rivoli-- facing the Tuileries Gardens-- that makes this the "hotel of kings." Host to royalty and the international jetset, the Hotel Meurice is Paris at its most posh and fashionable. Fashion week is on the horizon, so why not plan a trip to the City of Light to check out all the action and get pampered like a celeb at the fabulous Hotel Meurice? Surrounded by cafes and trendy boutiques in the heart of the chic 1st arrondissement, the Meurice is smack dab in the middle of it all in Paris. Special offer: If you book with Five Star Alliance, you get a free bottle of champagne in-room upon arrival.
Fans of Eos Airlines will be thrilled by this scoop. The luxury airline just announced that it has signed a partnership agreement with US Helicopter to provide helicopter service between Manhattan and JFK International Airport for its London passengers. And get this: the helicopter transfer is free for folks reserving unrestricted tickets aboard Eos. After checking in at the heliports (located downtown at Wall Street and also at East 34th Street), guests go through security screening and check their bags to their final destination, before being whisked away on an eight-minute ride to the awaiting Eos jet at JFK.
Legendary designer Jacques Garcia is at it again. He's designed the swanky new interiors for the newly-remodeled Regent Hotel, set to reclaim its place as the most majestic hotel in Bordeaux after a big restoration. But don't worry, the landmark property has faithfully retained its historic features despite its ultra-luxurious additions. Opposite the Grand Theatre (the Opera of Bordeaux), the hotel is ideally located near the upscale shopping in the Golden Triangle (think Van Cleef & Arpels, Chopard, YSL, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli...) The best part of all is the state-of-the-art spa Les Bains de Lea on the 5th and top floors, that includes a swimming pool, sauna, steam bath, and wellness center (opening later in the year). Also on site: the sophisticated L'Ocean restaurant serving innovative seafood. Slated to open in Spring 2008, the Regent Bordeaux is the best thing to come to the world's wine capital in a long time.
January 9, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
It is with great sadness that we learn the news about Maxjet, the all-business class luxury airline connecting London and the East Coast. Maxjet filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2007 and has ceased service. This is especially disappointing for Washingtonians who were spoiled by Maxjet's sensational service-- as Eos Airlines, the main competition in this niche upscale market, only flies to NYC.
January 8, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The very best of Madrid is at your doorstep at this sumptuous grand hotel frequented by the crowned heads of Europe. Enjoy the perfect weekend in Madrid, discovering the art and history of the Spanish capital, and soak up the luxurious comfort of The Ritz. Situated in the heart of the Triangle of Art, just a few steps from the world famous Prado Museum, Thyseen-Bornemisza Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, The Ritz boasts a killer location just steps from the most glamorous shops and restaurants. Book the Weekend Break and enjoy daily buffet breakfast, exclusive welcome amenities and a bottle of Cava (Spanish champagne) in your room on arrival, late check out (subject to availability), and use of the health club-- all for just EUR 305 per night. The regular nightly rate is EUR 525 for a Classic Room, so this is a real steal.
January 4, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
For the first time ever, this boutique London hotel has nabbed top honors from the travel world's most prestigious awards: Travel + Leisure's annual 500 World's Best Hotels list and Condé Nast Traveler's just published Gold List for 2008. The 57-room Milestone Hotel has been ranked Number 1 in London on both lists. "A refined, residential feel, thanks to its intimate size and personal gestures like sweets at turndown," T+L describes the Victorian-era hotel, where "no request is too large, no detail too small." Situated opposite Kensington Palace and Hyde Park, The Milestone boasts London's most comfortable beds with the highest quality linens, imaginatively stocked mini-bars and the latest 21st century technology. Highlights of a stay at The Milestone include traditional English cream tea in the Park Lounge, a gorgeous parlor with a roaring fire, cocktails in the Stables bar, and dinner in Cheneston's restaurant, which Tatler magazine has described as "a brilliant address to have up your sleeve."
There's been lots of buzz about "the next Croatia": the small, sun-soaked country wedged between Bosnia and Albania on the Adriatic coast. Montenegro is one of those jewels that tops 2008's hotlist of the "next destinations." In fact, Amanresorts is currently pumping millions into the restoration of the resort island, Sveti Stefan, a former haunt of movie stars which will soon open as an exclusive private-island resort. Dating from the 15th century, the island's picturesque dwellings and cobblestoned streets are encircled by golden crescent-shaped beaches. Sveti Stefan is in fact connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus (pictured). Formerly a glamorous hideaway for all sorts of A-listers, the island fell into decline during the 1990s. But now Montenegro is on the tourist map once again and Amanresorts luxury playground will soon begin wooing well-heeled travelers to its magical shores.
Milan has a new high-design hotel from the folks behind Miami's Setai and Vietnam's award-winning Nam Hai Hotel. GHM's unique urban resort, a blend of Western technology and Asian ambiance, is a 250-room masterpiece located in Milan's residential Bovisa district. It's only fitting that Italy's fashion capital should be home to such a stylish hotel, perfumed with a subtle signature fragrance of mandarin and green tea. The Chedi's spacious guest rooms are decked out with Asian artifacts, large limestone bathrooms, and all sorts of high-tech gadgetry. Choose the Chedi Club Lounge Level and you'll enjoy butler service and a dedicated concierge. The exclusive Health Club is a haven of tranquility. You'll find a sauna, hamman, steam room and whirlpool, fully-equipped fitness club, treatment rooms, and-- the best part of all-- a heated indoor swimming pool. One of the largest pools in Milan, the Chedi's pool is flooded with natural light from a magnificent glass rooftop.